Now that I’ve spent a few years testing out online dating, I just wanted to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way, in hopes that you will learn from my mistakes.
1. Don’t give him your phone number before the third date.
I know that texting is the cool thing to do, but treat your phone number like something sacred. Email is easily ignored. Texts and calls are annoying when unwanted.
2. Don’t friend him on Facebook.
Because you will probably soon un-friend him. Most guys that you will want to date long-term will not ask on a first date for you to friend them. This is a warning sign that they are needy. Also, when you un-friend them, they will call you on it if you didn’t heed the first point.
3. Don’t tell him where your favorite bar is and on what night he can find you there.
I don’t mean to, but I start talking about things I do and I happen to mention quiz night. And then they start showing up, unannounced. Even when you aren’t there. And then your friends hate you just a little. Eventually, they will forgive you, but will bring it up to make you feel bad when you are trying to stiff them with the check.
4. Don’t let him walk you to your car, and meet him in a public place.
This is just a security concern. I’m not worried about you, and I didn’t have to learn this one the hard way. But I wanted to voice it for anyone else out there who doesn’t realize that this guy could be a crazy internet stalker. Take precautions.
5. Don’t tell him where you live.
Until you want him to show up at your door unannounced when you are coming home from another date to which he wasn’t invited, don’t let him pick you up at home. Don’t accept offers to help you paint the walls, or fix the plumbing, or to “walk your dog.” Until you are ready to actually start a relationship with him, keep him at a safe distance.
6. Don’t get excited about the first date, get excited about the third.
Be optimistic, but don’t expect every guy you meet to be The One. You will just be setting yourself up for disappointment.
7. Don’t settle.
My favorite poem by Robert Browning is My Last Duchess. In it is the line, “She had a heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad, too easily impressed.” Don’t be the girl who falls for every guy she meets. You have better standards than that.
8. Break up gently, but firmly.
Don’t leave them hanging. I’ve done this and just feel bad about it. Just send them a short note saying, “It was nice meeting you, but I don’t think we are compatible. Good luck in your search.”
9. Trust your instinct
If you aren’t feeling a connection, don’t force one. Listen to your heart. Your mind made the decision to go out the first time, let your heart decide if you should see him again.
10. Don’t despair.
Despite everything I’ve said, there is someone out there for you. You will give him your phone number, friend him on Facebook, invite him to your house, and eventually marry and reproduce. There is hope. I believe.